VOL. 3, NO. 5, PGS. 14–30


The Impossible Guatemala
The Challenge of Modernising Anomic Institutions
Luis Mack and Jeanie Herrera

Luis Mack is Professor of Sociopolitical Studies at the Latin American Faculty of Social Science, academic headquarters in Guatemala. He is also the author of La anomia del Estado.

Jeanie Herrera is Professor of Sociology and Methodology at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.

For decades, Guatemalans have sought incessantly and in various ways to leave behind a past marked by violence, polarisation, institutional weakness and inefficiency, and a tendency to systematically reproduce political, economic and social crises. The various indicators available to measure a country’s development place Guatemala far below the ideal, far below the standards of inclusion, stability and modernisation that would be expected of a prosperous, stable and developed society, and this condition of backwardness has been maintained, despite numerous attempts to transform the exclusionary and authoritarian matrix that characterises it.

The last of the processes in search of change began in April 2015, when the Public Prosecutor’s Office together with an international entity1 presented the case called "La Línea", which revealed an intricate network of corruption in the country’s customs whose leaders were high-ranking public officials of the government of Otto Pérez Molina (2011-2015). Subsequently, the evidence presented pointed to President Molina himself and Vice President Roxana Baldetti as those most responsible for the systematic customs fraud uncovered. From that moment on, and for the next four years, Guatemalan society watched in amazement as the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) continued to present cases that revealed the degree of penetration of parallel power structures and how they turned the state into a machine for fabricating favours, protecting private interests and granting unrestricted resources to encourage the most varied tastes. It was on the basis of these facts that the awareness developed that the reason for the country’s underdevelopment was a direct consequence of these mafias that deliberately rendered public action inefficient.

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